For five days, I stayed on the Isle of Lewis with my aunt and uncle. Every summer for the last 4 years I’ve visited. It was so great to see them! It’s a long day of travel, requiring two buses and a ferry, but with beautiful views from the window and an iPod, it can pass quite quickly. On the Isle of Lewis, my aunt and uncle met me at the pier and took me out for a late dinner. On the drive to their house, there was a blazing sunset. Lewis sunsets over the hills and sea lochs are spectacular.
The Isle of Lewis is an amazing landscape, very different to most of Scotland. “Barren” isn’t the right word to describe the open, rocky land, because that implies it isn’t also beautiful. There are not many trees or patches of shrubs. Instead there seems to be rolling hills and marbled grey outcrops of some of the most ancient rock in the world. In some places, lines in the stone suggest that millenniums ago, during their formation, these huge grey rocks were folded over in the middle and twisted like kneaded dough. The sea is also unusual and beautifully coloured. Despite the colder climate, there are white-sand beaches with turquoise sea.
For five days I spent time with my uncle and aunt, helping out on the croft and exploring the seaside rocks just over the hill from their house. It’s very peaceful there down by the sea, sitting in the sun, watching the tide on the rocks. Once of my favourite places is a long stretch of pebble beach, covered in large smooth chunks of the grey-marbled stone. With only many shades of grey next to the blue sea, the whole beach seems to radiate white from the rock’s palest highlights. During my visit I had wonderful sense of peace, along with a lack of desire to listen to heavy music.
I also made myself useful, helping with some shearing. Some sheep were more willing than others. The first pair of little white sheep were reluctant, but not much trouble. The next couple, a temperamental mother and one-year old lamb, fought against their new haircut every inch of the way. They were really not happy about it. We clipped the highly-strung mother sheep’s wool first, and she made a huge fuss, scaring her lamb. She struggled, tried to bite, and at one point, sent my aunt rolling down a slope with her. After her haircut was done, Lamby, at bleated cues from his mum, jerked and fought and tried to butt us with his horns. It was tricky for my aunt not to cut him while shearing, but after a long time patiently clipping away, both sheep were let out the pen completely unharmed, just disgruntled and , without their winter fleece, looking much smaller than before.
One night we had a cinema night, watching a film on a big projector screen, and my uncle showed me how to stack peat.
After a short hold-up before a drive to the ferry because a sheep tried to eat a peg from the washing line, I was on my way home. It was an amazing ferry journey. Not only were there dolphins to see, the coastguard were on a helicopter exercise during my journey. The helicopter hovered over the ferry. I watched from the top deck as a man in a helmet and orange jumpsuit was winched on and off the ferry over the rails.